We have written a comprehensive guide on digital marketing for your business.

1. Setting your business goals and objectives
2. Why is digital marketing so important?
3. Benefits of digital marketing
4. Digital marketing strategy
5. Types of digital marketing tactics
6. Having a digital presence
7. Customer audience online
8. Put the customer at the centre of everything you do
9. Poor customer experience
10. Traditional marketing and digital marketing

11. Our guide to digital marketing
11.1 Grow and increase organic search traffic with search engine marketing
11.2 Content marketing
11.3 Grow your social media followers
11.4 Social media marketing
11.5 Social media advertising
11.6 Use search in social media
11.7 Use Google Adwords Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
11.8 Google Display Network
11.9 Email marketing opportunities
11.10 Influencer marketing
11.11 Online PR
11.12 Marketing automation
11.13 How marketing automation works
11.14 Inbound marketing, lead generation
11.15 Online reviews
12. Test your digital marketing and digital strategy
12.1 PPC and Google Adwords testing
12.2 Social media testing
12.3 E-newsletter testing
13. Measure campaigns
14. To summarise
15. Use your digital marketing to propel your business and profits

1. Setting your business goals and objectives

We always advise creating and forming digital marketing objectives for your online campaigns to understand how digital marketing is performing and where it can be improved.

Firstly, in order to set up relevant business goals and objectives, you should first consider the mission and goals of your business. Setting objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) will help you to focus on your activities, efforts and deliverables in order to meet your business targets and goals.

Goal and targets can include a range of aims, including increasing number of leads, selling more products, reaching new audiences or reducing costs. Defining these SMART objectives parameters as they pertain to your goal helps ensure that your objectives are attainable within a certain time frame.  It also helps to keep everyone in the business, at all levels and in all departments, focussed on what is to be achieved and what is important, and can filter through into projects, employee activities that need to be delivered and performance measurement.

A solid digital marketing strategy synched and structured to deliver your business goals will help to focus the marketing team so that they can focus on and fulfil their objectives in order to deliver the right marketing and digital strategy, within timescales and to budget.

2. Why is digital marketing so important?

Digital and the internet is ubiquitous. You can reach new audiences, locations and potentially have a global reach: there are no barriers to who and where you can reach with digital marketing. Using a range of digital marketing techniques, you can reach a wider customer base in a way that’s cost-effective, scalable and measurable. Virtually any business can have an online presence, and should be online.

But it’s not enough to just have a website up and running. Having a range of digital marketing tactics and a solid, workable digital marketing strategy ready is a necessity that you cannot be without, especially if your competitors are already doing well with their digital marketing.

Having a website is part of your digital marketing realm, it is an important part, however all of the other digital marketing tactics and elements are just as important and each have a role to play. Integrating them smartly and effectively, will further help you with your online presence, brand awareness, leads, sales and profits.

I have met many agencies who scoff at Search Engine Optimization, saying it is a waste of time. But it’s a necessity, because it is not enough to create a website and leave it, you have to optimise your core pages so that you can gain traction in search results to help customers find you. And all of this takes time, however with a steady strategy and plan that is realistic and can be implemented, you can make the big changes that need to be done with effective digital marketing.

3. Benefits of digital marketing

Some of the key benefits of digital marketing include:

  • Widening your reach and customer base
  • Understanding, nurturing and growing your customers
  • Interacting with your prospects and learning exactly what they are looking for. Getting feedback is key to good customer service
  • Targeting the right audience at the right time as digital marketing makes personalisation easier. You can personalise your digital marketing according to your customers’ needs and wants
  • Communicating with your prospects at every stage of the buying journey
  • Reaching more customers cost-effectively
  • Getting to know your audience and driving engagement to create brand loyalty. Easily offer loyalty incentives, offers and discounts
  • Mix and opt for what digital marketing you prefer to use and works well for your business
  • Track, measure and monitor your digital marketing in real-time, instantly and accurately.

4. Digital marketing strategy

It is essential these days to have a digital marketing strategy that will help you to build and operate a framework for your digital marketing. It is also important that your digital marketing across varied digital channels work together rather than separately so that you can maximise reach, brand awareness and promotion opportunities.

Customers will be online at different times, on different digital channels and moving through a digital, customer journey and funnel. It is important that all of your digital marketing channels work harmoniously so you have the best chance of being seen by customers, and best of all, more than once.

An effective digital marketing strategy means that you will consider and plan all elements of online marketing and digital marketing tactics that can work together via online channels. A digital marketing strategy and plan will also identify the online marketing tools that you should be using and focusing on.

A digital strategy and online marketing tactics will include social media, search engine optimization, email marketing, content marketing. It can also include other digital marketing tactics such as online PR, inbound marketing and digital marketing campaigns to boost sales and increase brand awareness.

5. Types of digital marketing tactics

Digital marketing offers a whole suite and portfolio of online marketing channels and tools that you can use and integrate, including:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) or Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Native advertising/online advertorials
  • Email marketing
  • Inbound marketing
  • Sponsored content
  • Instant messaging marketing
  • Marketing automation
  • Online PR
  • Online reviews

6. Having a digital presence

Digital marketing will give you online presence for your customers on the desktop and on mobile devices. Typically well over half of customers will be using mobile devices, so you must have a responsive website that is speedy to load and browse.

Having an excellent, mobile website that works quickly and easily for your customers could be the difference between them staying on your website and clicking off to another website.

7. Customer audience online

It is also really important to understand and define who your target audience is that you want to target with your digital marketing. Ask yourself questions such as who would buy your product or service, what is their demographic, how much would they spend, how can you segment them in order to target them with each and/or a combination of online channel.

What brand loyalty do they have, and how can you build upon that brand awareness and brand loyalty?

To hone into your ideal customer, build personas for your target audience and digital marketing. Personas define who your customers are to make them more tangible to you and your digital marketing. You can scope their likes, aspirations, motivations, behaviours, demographics and reasons to buy from you. Find out more about creating personas from Gartner here. https://www.gartner.com/en/marketing/insights/articles/whats-in-a-name-creating-personas-for-digital-marketing

8.  Put the customer at the centre of everything you do

The most important thing is that you put your customers at the heart of everything you do.

Customers and clients can be fickle and quick to judge online, and it is easy for customers to click and go elsewhere if you are not meeting their expectations and requirements and giving them what they want, when they want it, and served in a simple and easy way.

You could have the best digital marketing strategy and plan, however if the experience on the website is poor or worse – for instance, customers cannot find what you have been advertising further up the customer journey chain and therefore what they are looking for.

So it’s really important to see the holistic, digital customer journey and digital marketing from the beginning to end, to ensure that it is fulfilling a faultless customer experience when it comes to calls to action and conversions.

Failure to do this will result in a waste of money and resources, as customers will not take the actions you want them to take with your digital marketing and your efforts will fall at the last hurdle. Ultimately your goal is to convert your customers and prospects and get them to take the action you want, whether that is purchasing, signing up, contacting you, filling out a form or making a call.

9. Poor customer experience

We have seen many times when the customer experience has failed and has been poor, which has rendered the digital marketing and spend to get them there useless. Pay great attention to the detail at the user and customer experience end and how you want your customers and prospects to convert and what actions you want to drive.

10. Traditional marketing and digital marketing

Traditional marketing, or offline marketing, can also work really well with digital marketing and digital marketing techniques, so remember to consider and plan these in alongside your online marketing tactics. Traditional marketing can include print advertising, press, radio, print direct mail and Out of Home (OOH) advertising.

For instance, plan and synchronise traditional media and print advertising with your online advertising, social media marketing and content marketing, so that it all works together and you have the same, consistent marketing message and positioning which is optimised across digital marketing channels and traditional marketing channels.

Get more out of your traditional advertising in printed and OOH advertising by carefully and cleverly planning your digital marketing alongside these traditional forms of marketing. The `opportunities to see’ by potential customers across traditional and digital channels will become greater and you will get more out of your ad spend overall.

If you are running print direct mail campaigns, then develop creatives that can be used in both print and your digital marketing, so that they look consistent and familiar. Repurpose and run the direct mail creative and messaging online, for instance, setting up a campaign landing page that will tie everything in together and seamlessly.

Put any press PR and articles online so that you can show off your press publicity and demonstrate your reach, both online and offline. Put any radio or TV interviews online and on your website so that customers can listen and watch your PR coverage.

Ensure that all of your print marketing materials have your online details, including your website and social media channels. For online PDF document downloads, activate the links to your online channels, content and website, it is surprising how often this is not done!

11. Our guide to digital marketing

Here is our guide to setting up effective online and digital marketing and factoring these elements into your digital marketing strategy.

11.1 Grow and increase organic search traffic with search engine optimisation

Organic search engine traffic is essential and can be the most profitable traffic for your website because it is free to you. One of your main digital marketing objectives is to see an increase in organic search traffic, whether from Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

Once you have decided to invest in search engine optimisation (SEO), it will take some time to get your website search engine friendly, and to make changes that will help you achieve better natural rankings in the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages).

So how do you do this?  Ensure that your site is optimised for your relevant keywords, including your website content, title and meta tags. Research the best keywords for you and focus on those keywords and themes so that search engines can find you. Make sure to optimise your core service and product web pages that are promoting what you offer and sell.

Also look at your internal cross-linking to your pages within your website pages, and make sure that they use your keywords and make sense to the user.

Avoid any unethical or ‘Black Hat’ SEO tactics on your website as this will catch up with you and Google may penalise you.

11.2 Content marketing

Next, concentrate and work on your content marketing strategy. Content marketing will help you to create valuable content that is relevant to your business and helps customers with what they are looking for. Other websites may want to link to your content too. Google and search engines love new content that is a good quality and informative. Online content can be written by anyone in your company. Great content marketing is also ideal for staff who have the expertise to write valuable online content to help customers make decisions and promote what you do.

Keep content varied. Content can include written, blogs and articles, e-books, downloads and thought leadership, opinion articles and white papers, infographics, online video and podcasts.

11.3 Grow your social media followers

Social media is a great platform to grow followers and increase your brand awareness using a variety of social media channels. With some algorithmic changes over time, it has been harder to gain thousands of followers on social media platforms, as their business model lends itself to more paid advertising than free and organic newsfeed listings and appearances. Nevertheless, it is still a relatively cost effective way to reach new audiences, increase followers and promote your products and brand, without the need for advertising.

Create engaging content that is of interest to your followers and is shareable on social media, promote sales and discounts on social media and also use social media marketing for lead generation. There are a number of ways to do this, take a look at the https://business.facebook.com/ to find out ways in which to grow followers and many other helpful functions to grow reach.

You can also repurpose your social media posts and content for the different social media platforms, so Facebook could be more informative, Instagram and Tik Tok more visual and Twitter more newsworthy.

11.4 Social media marketing

With social media, don’t just set up a page or account and post occasionally and let your social media pages and accounts go out of date. Your regular and current social media presence and engagement with your social media followers is key to build and nurture relationships with your followers and potential customers, and to keep your brand and products in your audiences’ minds.

If you cannot be bothered to update your social media regularly, why would customers be bothered to keep up with you? Additionally, lax and outdated social media pages and accounts will disappear from newsfeeds and be discounted by the constant algorithms that work behind the scenes.

So it’s really important to regularly engage, post, interact and comment on your page with your followers. Ask customers for feedback and to post and share photos of your products or services, use your social media accounts as a two-way communications platform as well as for online promotions.

All of your interactions will help to create a healthy, ongoing dialogue with your customers and potential customers.

11.5 Social media advertising

Social media marketing can also include social media ads which may be something to consider. Social media ads are still quite hit and miss and not ideal for detailed and targeted audiences, however can be good for general brand awareness building.

Be aware that the social media advertising interfaces and targeting functionality can be quite clunky and unsophisticated, so ensure that you test your campaigns and that they are working effectively.

11.6 Use search in social media

Often overlooked is that social media is a great place for customers to search for products, information and locations. So add and use hashtags to your posts, as social is an effective search tool, and you never know how customers will find you!

11.7 Use Google Ads Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

PPC advertising, or Google Ads and Bing Ads, are ideal for all kinds of businesses, products and services. Using PPC advertising as part of your digital promotional mix has many benefits.

PPC is highly targeted and sophisticated and can drive a high volume of targeted website traffic and qualified website visitors for your business.

Google Ads are quick to implement and adverts can be live and appearing to your prospects in less than an hour. Conversions can be tracked using Google Analytics and the Google Ads platform. The Return on Investment (ROI) is easy to calculate and transparent so that you know exactly how your campaigns are working and performing.

Adverts and campaigns can be readily turned on and off and it is easy to change advert creatives, website links, messaging and text.

We recommend regular campaign optimisation and PPC management by a professional Google Ads consultant, like us, who will keep your adverts performing at their best and maintain the optimum ROI with your ad spend.

11.8 Google Display Network

As well as using Google Adwords for the normal search results, you can increase brand and product awareness by utilising Google’s Display Network as part of your Google Ads digital marketing tactic.

This extensive digital ads channel has a network of millions of websites across the internet that you can promote your text and banner ads on. This gives your business and products even more reach opportunity and serves as a reminder of your brand to those who have already visited your website, and  are actively searching for a business and products like yours.

Using the Google Display Network is also a great way to promote your business, product or service to a target audience that is not yet aware of your business and what you offer.

11.9 Email marketing opportunities

E-newsletters have been around since the year dot, and is still an under-used and glaringly obvious way to communicate with your audience. Your customers and potential customers who have taken the time to sign up and opt-in to your emails and  e-newsletters have already demonstrated a greater level of trust and confidence in your brand and products. They have also acted and shown that they want to hear from you and know more about your business and products.

So this should, without a doubt, be one of your top digital marketing objectives. Stay in touch with your subscribers regularly, at least once a month, and keep it interesting and engaging. An email marketing campaign can offer discounts, sales, vouchers, information and also drive your customers to your website with great content.  A good starting incentive to opt-in is to offer a discount when signing up to your e-newsletter, and you can easily offer this on your website.

It is important that you have a double opt-in to prevent spammers from signing up and ensure that all subscribers are qualified, as this will prevent problems.

Many email platforms have a free option for a capped volume of subscribers to start you off, and the measurement of opening, click and click through rates are very good, so you can see just how effective your e-newsletter content is and the most popular content.

11.10 Influencer marketing

An influencer marketing strategy can be included as part of your PR, digital marketing and/or social media marketing. Advocates become ambassadors for your brand and influence their followers to purchase from your business.

It’s important to find the right ambassadors for your ethos and business, and those that have influence to make it worthwhile as it can take time to build, nurture and maintain relations and marketing efforts with high profile influencers.

11.11 Online PR

Often forming part of influencer marketing, online PR is a great way to reach new stakeholders and audiences, not just customers. Use press and media coverage as part of your digital marketing to promote your brand and products.

Awards, whether local, regional or national, are a great way to get attention, credibility and kudos, as are photo opportunities and clever and creative press stunts.

Influencers can form part of your PR strategy with endorsements and to generate wider brand awareness, loyalty and reach, and use any print and broadcast press online too.

11.12 Marketing automation

Marketing automation systems are ideal for mass and volume based marketing campaigns and are useful for larger and mid-size businesses, although automation is scalable for small businesses.

These marketing platforms will integrate with other CRM and digital technologies, such as Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe that will give a 360 degree view of your customer contacts and interactions.

Marketing automation can be defined as a platform and system that automates, streamlines and measures marketing tasks, outputs and workflows, to increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.

This system can create marketing campaigns on omni and multiple channels and automate repetitive activities and marketing tasks. It’s ideal for all types of marketing including:

  • Segmentation
  • Relationship marketing
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead generation
  • Cross-sell and upsell
  • Retention
  • Return on investment (ROI) measurement
  • Account-based marketing

11.13 How marketing automation works

Customers want to find out what they want to know, and when it suits them. A lot of customers want to do their research and learn at their own pace, so that they can make an informed and confident decision to purchase from a supplier.

A well defined and constructed automation strategy makes this a reality for customers and prospects and can instil a process and system that does not rely on overworked and stressed digital marketers. It can maintain a good level of engagement with prospects and customers, and help account and sales managers with managing clients.

Marketing campaigns and programmes can be created and set up to run at any time, as everything is pre-set and automated.

Customer interaction and engagement can be tracked, scored and monitored and further marketing is optimised and retargeted to move that customer along the decision making journey and closer to the point of purchase. This can be aided with personalised and relevant information that is served at the right time to that customer.

This automated approach is completely customer-centric and allows you to nurture prospects with relevant and useful information across multiple channels until they are ready to buy.

This type of system will also provide scoring and analytical information so that you can closely monitor and learn more about your customers, their behaviours and the types of information that they find useful and relevant. Automation will give you an insight into what your customers are looking for and require.

Automation can assist by helping you scale your programmes and campaigns, delivering more personalised marketing and targeted communications, aligning with sales, and measuring effectiveness.

11.14 Inbound marketing, lead generation

There are many types of specific digital marketing objectives that you may want to focus on for your businesses.

For a sales-driven environment, lead generation would be key digital marketing tactics used by digital marketers to maintain your vital sales funnel and list of prospective customers.

Inbound marketing will pull customers to your website and digital assets with compelling content will fulfil their questions, wants and needs. Inbound marketing is therefore customer-centric and all about the customer, moving them along the customer buying and decision making journey. This type of marketing is highly effective with technology marketing to customers and B2B customers.

Inbound marketing can include a range of digital marketing tools including content and content strategy, PPC Google Adwords advertising, social media, email marketing and messaging. I would categorically state that ALL of your digital marketing and digital communication to customers should have an element of inbound marketing and Call to Action (CTA) to them, which is designed to bring the user back to your website and sales and/or shop front.

11.15 Online reviews

Another vital part of the digital marketing armoury is online reviews which helps the referral and word of mouth marketing element and helps to build your credibility.

The best and most trusted form of marketing is peer recommendation and reviews online are crucial for this.

Implement a process that proactively asks happy and delighted customers for their feedback and review, using Google reviews, TrustPilot, Review.com etc.

12. Test your digital marketing and digital strategy

For all of your digital marketing, it is really important to test everything you do to improve and enhance your digital marketing efforts. Putting out a cold campaign or piece of content is great to test the water, however it may need to be honed and further worked on to make sure that it is performing at its best and optimum level.

Ensure that your digital strategy is aligned and working at its best, and all of the digital marketing and digital channels are working harmoniously and hard for your business.

12.1 PPC and Google Ads testing

For your PPC campaigns, create at least 2-4 ads for split testing. You can test anything within your campaigns, including prices, text, landing pages, creatives and offers.

Without testing, you won’t know which features or benefits your target markets are most responsive to and whether conversions could perform better with a few edits and changes.

12.2 Social media testing

Use your insights to see what content is popular and what type of post works best on your accounts. For instance, videos may perform better than images and sharing links. Do more of what works well.

12.3 E-newsletter testing

As covered earlier, some email platforms such as Mailchimp and Mailer Lite will have a free plan for up to 1000 subscribers and a single user. Within these platforms, there will be an in-built tester functionality which uses different titles and determines the best email version to send based on the number of opens. The test is done in real time and works it all out for you.

Take a look at your open and click rates too to measure the most engaging and popular content and what your subscribers are interested in, and create more of that content.

13. Measure campaigns

For all online campaigns, run a campaign report and audit after the end of the campaign so that you can measure each digital channel and tactic, as well as research the overall digital performance and reach for all of the channels that you have used. From the data and analytics, you will be able to see the best ROI digital tactic and the worst, cost and spend and number of sales, leads and conversions.

If you have run separate or different campaigns, don’t look at them in isolation. Measure and compare them together, what worked well and what didn’t, and are there any inferences you can draw to make a future, super campaign?

14. To summarise

It’s important that you have a digital marketing strategy that helps you deliver effective marketing objectives and that will lead to online success for your business. Small businesses and large businesses alike should all consider digital marketing and techniques that work best for them.

Have a digital strategy. Every successful business will have a digital marketing strategy in place with a full plan of digital marketing channels for their digital marketing tactics and marketing campaigns and a clear understanding of who their target audience is.

Traditional marketing plays a part. Traditional forms of marketing are just as important, and can leverage your digital marketing efforts and make your brand appear professional and together to your target audience.

Take a holistic approach. It is also important not to overlook digital marketing and digital marketing tactics, be clear what digital channel you are using for your marketing campaigns and how they will work together. Digital marketers should look at all of the digital marketing channels holistically in order to optimise each one and ensure that they work together seamlessly.

Resourcing your digital marketing. Of course, resources play a big part and exactly how many people you have to deliver a digital marketing strategy will be dependent on the size of your business, your investment and requirements. However, digital marketing can be adapted and tailored according to your resources, and if you have good performance and success, it could well be the catalyst for further digital marketing investment and spend.

Use the whole suite of online marketing tools available to you, utilising all channels and try out new things with your marketing efforts. We’re a great advocate for trying new things, even if you start off slowly and small. Everything can be tested and measured and your time, money and resources put into the digital marketing that really work for your business.

Keep up with the trends. Digital marketing can change quickly and regularly, so keep up on all of the digital industry trends and best practice. Small businesses can learn from larger businesses particularly with digital transformation and marketing, just scale it according to your resources.

Digital is affordable. The best thing is the affordability digital marketing gives to marketers. Whatever your spend or budget is, you can cater for all types of digital marketing tactics and measure its performance. Large and small businesses have access to free analytical tools, and more sophisticated paid ones where required.

Support your business goals. Done right, digital marketing helps and will support all of these objectives and goals for your business. Digital marketing makes many opportunities that you can test, rollout and adapt according to its success and performance.

Measure results. The beauty of digital marketing is that you can measure in real-time and understand performance quickly and easily using a range of analytical and data benchmarks and measurement.

15. Use your digital marketing to propel your business and profits

Digital marketing is the best platform and techniques for pushing the boundaries, reaching new customers, experimenting, building and retaining customer relationships, finding out what customers want and expect, and measuring what you do and every £1 that you spend.

That is why it’s important that you have a digital marketing strategy that helps you create and drive effective business and marketing objectives and that will lead to online success for your business. It’s a no brainer to use and take advantage of all of these digital marketing tactics and tools, so make it a priority.

Get in touch with us if you would like us to help with your digital marketing.